The William Dameron Papers

The William Dameron papers document the incarceration of William and his attempt to obtain parole. William, born March 6, 1837, was the second son of John “Jack” Jones and Margaret Burton Dameron of Randolph County, Missouri. William had two brothers in the Rebel Army: James, who died in January 1863 at the Union Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, and Rufus, who served in Company “C” of Clark’s Regiment, Missouri Infantry, CSA.1 In September of 1864, William’s father was killed by bushwhackers on the family’s farm, and the following October, William was captured as a Confederate prisoner of war in Stone County, Missouri. William was taken to Springfield, Missouri and later transferred to St. Louis for incarceration.

During his imprisonment, William wrote his wife Martha Louise seeking assistance in obtaining his freedom. William informed his Union captors that Rebel soldiers threatened his life if he refused to join the Confederate Army, and that his true loyalties lie with the Union. William proclaimed to have served in the Enrolled Missouri Militia. The War split many families over political differences, so William’s testimony of allegiance to the Union within a pro-southern family was not uncommon. Military records, however, do not list a William T. Dameron in service with the Enrolled Missouri Militia, but they do list a William Dameron, who served in 8th Missouri Infantry, CSA. Researchers may never know William’s true allegiance, as his claims of loyalty could very well have been a ruse to escape prison life. This collection does show that his Union captors obviously questioned the validity of William’s story. Despite his alleged service in the EMM, claims of forced conscription and pleas of several Randolph County citizens petitioning for his freedom, William remained imprisoned for the duration of the War.

Contributed by a Private Collector

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  1. Jones, Helen Dameron. “John Jones Dameron of Randolph Co., Missouri.”, last visited 29 July 2009.